Boasting a thriving theatre and arts scene, distinct hipster vibes, and most importantly, a unique music scene, Portland is one of those rare hidden gems. From the early punk rock days of the 1960’s to the alternative indie culture of today, Portland’s burgeoning music scene makes it a hotspot for artists, musicians and creatives from all walks of life. Catch a comedy show at an iconic theatre, feel the music resonate through you at a live gig, or revel with the masses at one of the many music festivals. Whether you’re drinking, dancing or dining, this one-of-a-kind city offers a truly unique experience.

THEATRES

Take a step back in time with a visit to the iconic Crystal Ballroom. Built in 1914, the historic venue is as much of an attraction as the world-class artists that grace its stage. Whether you’re admiring the stunning interiors, dancing upon the famed floating floors or dreaming of concerts past, the iconic ballroom is one of the most storied venues in the city. For something a little different, check out Revolution Hall. Housed within the old Washington High School, the renovated auditorium is now a state-of-the-art performing arts centre and live music venue, hosting live gigs, short films and comedy skits most nights of the week. Other historic venues to see include the Aladdin Theatre and Alberta Rose Theatre – in Portland, the list is truly endless.

BARS

Following a lift on the ban of live music in bars in the early 1970’s, bars, breweries and pubs started to spring up all over the place, meaning there is no shortage of great bars in the city. For a drink with a side of music nostalgia, The Old Portland is our pick. Owned by Dandy Warhols frontman Courtney Taylor-Taylor and sporting concert flyer-papered walls and memorabilia from old iconic venues, this go-to has been and will continue to be one of the best places to soak up Portland’s eclectic music history with a beer in hand! Live like a local and mingle at the lively yet intimate Turn! Turn! Turn!, which is a record store, brewery and music venue in one. For another brush with music royalty, opt for a drink at the edgy Poisons Rainbow, which is owned by Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock. But nothing screams Portland quite like The Liquor Store, a hipster haven serving cocktails and showcasing great live music in an artsy venue. It doesn’t matter where you are in Portland, you’re never far from an ice cold drink and live tunes!

FESTIVALS

From the largest blues festival on the West Coast to niche boutique festivals, Portland’s pop-up music and arts scene plays a vital role in keeping the spirit of the city alive and bopping. With special events on all year-round, there are plenty of opportunities for music lovers of all genres to be a part of the fun. Delight in the sounds of Soul’d Out Music Festival, a non-stop dance fest jam-packed with jazz, funk and hip hop music or for something a little more family friendly, the annual PDX Pop Now! Is run entirely by volunteers and promises two days filled with art, music and good food. In typical friendly Portland-style, all proceeds are funnelled back into the running of the festival – pretty cool, huh? If niche festivals are more up your alley, put Pickathon on the bucket list! The boutique event offers a variety of musical performances and art installations, whilst promoting a sustainable approach to living. For an authentic festival experience, pitch a tent and camp!

FOOD

Whether you’re filling up before a gig, grabbing a late night bite post-gig, or making your dining experience the main event of the evening, Portland’s diverse foodie scene is a feast for all the senses. From sumptuous steaks char grilled to perfection at the trendy Ox Restaurant, to deliciously crunchy fried chicken from local favourite Chicken and Guns, your taste buds will be singing with joy as you sample the flavours of the city! Coffee lovers should make a beeline for the hip Coava Coffee Roasters for an artisanal brew, meanwhile those looking for some hearty grub will have Trap Kitchen in their sights – it’s L.A. hub is favoured by Snoop Dogg and Kendrick Lamar, so you know it must be good! For those seeking a fine dining experience, Parisian-style Bistro Agnes, or the elegant Arden Wine Bar & Kitchen are a must. Otherwise for something low-key, a slice from local pop-up-turned-bricks-and-mortar-store, Ranch Pizza is always a great idea. Portland is without a doubt, a non-stop culinary adventure!